Is A Flawed Wine, Really Flawed?


I was passed along an interesting article that provides an argument for all us lifetime wine drinkers…Are there any flaws in wine?(Gasp, someone faints in the background)

NOW, before you think to yourself, of course there are! There is scientific proof! VA, Oxidization, Brett are awful characteristics of wine… Hear me out.

Today’s wine market is filled to the metaphorical brim with Wines that tout their naturalistic wine-making ways, those that believe hospital clean is the only way to get around natures follies and many in the middle. The 1970’s prompted a new movement to accept sterility as the ‘social norm’ in wine-making. What did they do before the 1970’s? Heck, wine has been around for roughly the last 500 years. Ya, 500 years. Do you think they had labs 500 years ago checking VA and brix levels to track their fermentation’s? That would be a negative.

What this article argues is that the accepted norm of sterility in wine-making is a relatively new concept for the long history of wine. Winemakers had no choice, but to leave their fate in the hands of nature. All of this in hopes that mother earth would glean a little of her golden liquid for future generation to enjoy. Possibly hundreds of years later. An 1870 Lafite was not subjected to lab tests, double duty punch downs and artificial additives. It was a gift from the Gods.

Mind you, not every vintage was an accomplishment of the Gods. More often than not they were catastrophically bad. This spectrum of results may have flawed components that naturally occurred, but became the signature of their vintage and more importantly of the wine itself. Neither I or this article suggest that intentionally letting flaws into wine is a good idea. That would be lazy wine-making and probably result in a poor product. As my old boss claimed daily during harvest, “cutting corners on this wine is a sin that you will have to own up to when its released!” He had a point there.

However, it is about keeping an open mind and an adventurous palate. Try that old world wine that has a little Brett, you may like it. Try that crystal clear wine, it probably has great acidity. Point is to keep trying. Otherwise, what fun is wine?

Author: Erica Davis – B.S. Wine & Viticulture Cal Poly SLO / Sommelier

Contact Info: [email protected]

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